Sep 14, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Europe is thirsting for any oil supplies that it can get. The non-oil producing countries of Europe are hungry for oil that they can get from anywhere. Guyana has been doing its part on the quiet, as new reports now indicate in the article titled, ‘Guyana’s oil producers ramp up exports to thirsty European refiners -Reuters report’ (KN September 9). More of local oil that is closely compatible with European refiners are being redirected there, given developments on that continent.
Though only a drop in the bucket of the oil needs of advanced European economies, every drop counts, and the more reasonable the price, the better. The expectation is that oil companies operating in Guyana will bring on more, which is what ramped up production means. In recent days, Guyana’s total oil production reached 350,000 barrels per day, which is almost three times earlier 2022 levels, and of which just under one third is now shipped to Europe. Clearly, we are a presence in the oil business, and our contributions count more than we know.
What we do know, and are concerned about, is what was best said by John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation: ‘Govt. wants adherence to environmental rules with accelerated production -CEO John Hess tells shareholders’ (KN September 9). Regrettably, we must call this how we see it, in that it is nice for both the Guyana Government and Mr. Hess to speak of adherence to rules, but what we interpret to be speaking for the record, nothing but lip service. For, on the one hand, there is this push of production racing against and around the clock to lend a hand to Europe while, on the other, there is this verbal nod to be careful and be mindful of environmental rules.
All of that is certainly pleasing to the ear, and makes for good copy. But we are dealing with heavy demand for a precious commodity and money to be made from cheap oil (profits) here. This is a CEO’s dream come true, the best visions surpassed, and with the understanding that the more oil that is pumped, the more it will be gobbled up in the waiting, starving, hoping market that is Europe. It is known that this country’s oil production capabilities have an issue, which needs to be said and re-said as often as necessary. We focus on one presently: given current production facilities, Guyana is stretched to the limit. In fact, it is more accurate to state that we are exceeding recommended safety limits at some of the fields. It follows, therefore, that we were already pushing the envelope, or at its very margins, and now with ramped up production to meet European demand, we are advancing, possibly recklessly, into red zones.
This is where CEO Hess manifests his great hypocrisies with mouthfuls of the self-serving dribble. “…They are very pro- development of oil and obviously keeping environmental stewardship at the front of how they think about authorising and overseeing these developments…” John Hess couldn’t be talking about Guyana when he mentions that tidbit about “keeping environmental stewardship at the front” to his shareholders. That is a sham, flimflam, and scam, for we point Mr. Hess to the record of excess flaring into the atmosphere (paid for cheaply), and a national Environmental Protection Agency that is muzzled, impotent, and not up to the demanding job of policing its own standing rules.
Who does Mr. Hess think he is fooling with his hypocrisies, his forked tongue? More demand that has to be met urgently means more production, which means more profits and more readiness to take chances. To say this differently, oil production circumstances in Guyana are tailor-made for rules and safety requirements to get stretched and bent, which could lead to things snapping. This is what we are concerned about, and sound the alert, for the ExxonMobil-led consortium (Hess Corp included) has not been honest nor trusted partners. Moreover, the Government of Guyana has been a true partner (little restraint, less controls) with the oil companies in the crimes waged on Guyanese by giving them carte blanche to ramp up production. This could be pushing rules and safety limits beyond what they could bear.
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